Does Swimming Make You Taller? (There is a Catch)


Most swimming professionals are tall. The average height of 2016 Olympic swimming finalists was 6’2’’ or 1.88m for men and 5’9’’ or 1.75m for women [source]. That can certainly make you wonder, does swimming make a person taller?

Swimming does not make a person taller but it gives the body the best chance to develop and reach its maximum potential. Height grows until 21 in men and 19 in women, and swimming can facilitate the growth. After that age, swimming will not have any effect on height.

Why People Think Swimming Makes a Person Taller

People think swimming makes a person taller because every time you look at those swimming Olympics, the participants turn out to be giants in height. It is just a myth.

Gustavo Borges and Matt Grevers are both 6’8’’ or 2.03m in height and are considered the tallest swimmers medalists in the history of the Olympics. Are they tall because they swam every single day? No, it is genetics.

How Does Swimming Help People Grow Taller?

Swimming does not make you taller directly. It is mostly the genes that define how tall a person will be. However, though, I said directly because there are a couple of indirect benefits of swimming that is associated with a person’s height.


If you are in your growth period, swimming can increase muscle mass and tone the body which will make you appear taller. Of course, only swimming will do no improvement. It has to be combined with a healthy lifestyle and a nutritious diet.

Slouching is a common problem among people which makes people appear shorter than they actually are. Swimming can help stretch all 31 segments of the spinal cord, thus revealing your actual height.

Does Swimming Make You Taller During Puberty?

Puberty is when boys and girls undergo a lot of physical changes. It starts and ends at different times for different genders. On average, girls reach their full adult height by the age of 15 and boys at 16. After that, the increase in height is very insignificant.

Saying that, if you start swimming earlier before or during puberty, you will be making sure you develop to your fullest potential and do not get hindered by anything. It will help develop the shoulders, the back, and the spines, giving you a good physical appearance.

Can Swimming Make You Taller After 18?

By the age of 18, most boys and girls would have reached their adult heights. Meaning the height will not increase significantly anymore. According to researchers, an inch or two is still possible.


Girls stop growing heights a couple of years earlier than the boys. So as a girl, you will have one or max two years to potentially grow the extra inches after 18. For boys, they can still grow until the age of 21.

Can Swimming Make You Taller After 21?

By the age of 21, height stops completely. Meaning it is physically not possible to get any taller unless you are suffering from slouching or such height-shortening physical problems.

Even though there is no height benefit of swimming after you are 21, it can help many other areas of your physicality like increasing muscle mass, shoulder width, and metabolism. No wonder why it is considered one of the best physical activities.

The Lengthening Effect of Swimming on Other Ages

After 16

It is safe to assume that the height spurt has ended by the age of 16. That also means the height probably has reached its potential for most. Some people keep growing after that and grow until the age of 21. So keep pushing yourself with a healthy diet and an exercise plan.

After 20

Chances are girls will not grow any taller after they are 19. But for the boys, they still have a year or two to have the last bit of increase. Note that the increase we are talking about here is very insignificant and probably translates to half or one full inch in numbers for the lucky ones.


After 25

From the outcomes of thousands of researches, I can confidently say that you will not grow any taller after you are 25. You are well past the growth period of human beings in this twenty-first area. Swimming or any sport will not help with your height other than shaping your body.

Can Swimming Help Adults Height-Wise?

Although on paper the age when a person is considered an adult is 18, adulthood is commonly thought to start at the age of 20 or 21.

So in early adulthood (let’s say age from 18 to 21), there is still a little chance to grow. You should always look forward to it and aid your body with a nice diet and some exercise. Swimming can go a long way here.

Starting mid-adulthood (age 21 and above), swimming won’t help height-wise. But if you do suffer from bad posture, it could be a game-change as many height specialists would recommend you to go swimming as much as you can.

Can Swimming By Any Chance Make You Shorter?

Swimming making a person taller is a questionable topic and even when it indirectly does, factors like age and health condition play the deciding role. But there is one thing you can be sure of, it will not make you any shorter. Period.


Why? Swimming stretches the body which is the opposite of looking or making a person shorter. Plus it boosts the metabolism which helps the muscle growth. With all that in place, you can look only stronger and bigger, not the other way around.